Over 2,000 Connecticut students recently ended the school year with a sense of accomplishment and a better understanding of the world around them thanks to History Day in Connecticut – and ten students from the state earned national recognition last week for their efforts.
Through this rigorous annual academic program for grades 6-12, 2,000 students developed school history projects across the state. Of those, 1,250 went on to participate in District Contests across Connecticut, and over 400 competed in the State Contest on April 27 at the Old State House in Hartford. Connecticut’s program is coordinated by the Old State House.
The 2013 theme was “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.”
The 69 students who placed 1st or 2nd in various age groups at the State Contest represented Connecticut at the week-long National History Day Contest, held at the University of Maryland, June 9 - 13. Students competed in various categories, and according to age group (junior and senior divisions). Categories included documentaries, exhibits, websites, papers, and performances.
The top three finishers in each category at the national contest were recognized, and included three Connecticut entries that including participation from nine students:
Junior Group Exhibit - Second Place
Junior Individual Exhibit – Second Place
Samuel Porcello West Hartford, CT, Sedgwick Middle School Teacher: Jennifer Hunt Entry - The Hartford Circus Fire: A 10 Minute Turning Point Sparks Lasting Change
Senior Group Performance – Third Place
Pierce Barry, Annabel Barry, Isabella Altherr, Jaden Esse, Quinn Barry Southport, CT, Pequot Homeschool Teacher: Alison Barry Entry - The Tet Offensive: Turning Point in Vietnam, Turning Point in Journalism
In addition, student Timothy Cohn from Southbury received the organization’s “George Washington Leadership in History” award for his Senior Individual Exhibit, “Washington and the French: A Turning Point in the American Revolution.” His teacher is Sharon Wlodarczyk.
Organizers say the History Day initiative is important because “students who think critically, understand how the past shapes the present, and know how to plumb history for answers to current issues make better citizens.” Also, studies have shown that History Day participation helps students out-perform peers on standardized tests and develop the skills needed to succeed in work and college.
The Connecticut League of History Organizations and ConnecticutHistory.org encourage students to explore state history through their projects with help from local historical societies. The Connecticut Historical Society runs workshops and helps run the contests. Connecticut Humanities provides the major funding needed to provide 2,000 students with a rich and lasting academic opportunity.
History Day in Connecticut is one of 54 affiliate programs of the renowned academic National History Day Program. National History Day (NHD) correlates to the Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and the Technical Subjects.